Earlier this week the Chicago Sun-Times ran a story by the Better Government Association that questioned a charging decision made by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office in a college campus rape case. The story falsely alleged that an assistant state’s attorney mishandled the case. I would like to set the record straight because nothing could be further from the truth.
The case in question was charged in good faith based upon all relevant evidence available to our office at the time of the charging decision. As the case moved forward, additional information was discovered regarding communications between the victims and this defendant, and we determined that it would be inappropriate to proceed with felony charges. As a result, a proper agreement was reached to allow the defendant to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.
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Most importantly, readers should know and understand that this plea agreement was reached with the input of both of the victims in this case and that they approved of this outcome. The case in question was never “quietly closed” as the writer inaccurately alleges. It was prosecuted properly with the best interests of the victims being a priority.
Generally speaking, acquaintance rape cases present unique challenges and can be difficult to prove due to the fact that prosecutors must contend with defense assertions that the victim consented to the sex acts and there are typically no witnesses to the crime. Under the leadership of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, we never hesitate to charge these cases when appropriate and we are doing more than ever before to train our prosecutors and enhance the methods by which we handle these cases.
State’s Attorney Alvarez takes the issue of campus sexual assault and acquaintance rape very seriously. In fact, she has convened a campus sexual assault group that meets regularly with campus administrators and staff to conduct trainings and to provide support to heighten awareness of campus violence against women and to identify ways to improve response to this growing problem.
Fabio Valentini, chief, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Criminal Prosecutions Bureau
A new low
The paranoia and hysteria over threats of terrorism have hit a new low. The closing down of the L. A. school system is an indication that our enemies, both abroad and domestic, have succeeded in terrorizing the most powerful country in the world with words rather than with weapons.
An anonymous threat can close down a school, a school system, a university, disrupt air travel and paralyze an entire city.
We know that there are extremists of all kind in our midst, but common sense should tell you that serious acts of terrorism are not going to be announced in advance. “Out of an abundance of caution” is a familiar refrain today. Instead, we need to hear “Out of an abundance of common sense.”
Those who wish to do us harm and inflict the maximum amount of damage are going to do so without advance warning.
This situation reminds this writer of the hysteria that gripped the country during the Sen. Joseph McCarthy communist witch hunt years ago. He tried to convince the country that there was a communist behind every bush and that we had to hunt them down, root them out and destroy them. Sound familiar? In time, common sense prevailed.
As a citizen of this great country, my greatest fear is not of the radical Islamist falling through the cracks and committing an occasional act of violence. We have more to fear from the home-grown deranged persons who go berserk and commit mass murder and from the gangs operating in our cities that are shooting and killing at such an alarming rate, that some areas are akin to war zones.Easy access to weapons enables the radical Islamist, the deranged person and the gang member.
Wake up, America! The real threat is from within.
Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park
Two hours of debate about the needed U.S. response to terrorism here and abroad and not one word about U.S. gun violence and closing laughable loopholes in our background check system and restricting access to guns by those on the no-fly list or people who our Homeland Security suspect as possible home-grown or foreign terrorists. Cowards all! The NRA reigns!
Mary F. Warren, Wheaton
The Paris climate accord gives our good Earth a glimmer of hope. But it missed a whole new demon, namely social media, which people use non-stop, and most unfortunately even while they sit in their cars in their driveways, at the curb, at shopping malls – with their motors running. People do not seem to realize they are polluting the air unnecessarily. Folks, do your social media, anywhere but in your car, while driving or lolling in the parking lot.
Martin Deppe, Ravenswood Manor
Another debate has come and gone and the candidates once again tell us what they’re going to do if they are elected president if the United States.
One thing we’ve heard little if nothing about is how they’re going to accomplish their goals.
With Congress polarized to the point of gridlock, how are any of the candidates in either party going to implement their ideas with the path to meaningful legislation blocked?
Charming personality? Reagan was able to do it when Congress still had somewhat of a sense of duty to its constituents.
Force of will? George Washington tried that and failed. And everyone liked him!
Executive orders? Those can only go so far without funding.
Shame Congress into action? That’s been tried for some years now. You can’t shame the shameless.
Voters may think their candidate is going to be another FDR or Teddy Roosevelt. But I’m afraid all the next president will be able to be is another Millard Filmore.
Jim Tomczyk, Forest Glen